When a new baby is born, most people expect mothers to be absolutely happy and cheerful. However, for many women, postpartum brings them an unexpected mood: depression. These types of sadness episodes are called "Postpartum depression", although the depressive episode can also begin before the birth of the child. Postpartum depression is most often experienced by mothers, either during or after childbirth, although it can sometimes affect the parents as well.
If the melancholy of motherhood that appears after childbirth does not resolve on its own within two weeks after birth, you may have postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a serious and debilitating disease over which mothers have no control. Like all types of depression, this is not the result of a character defect, weakness, or anything the mother has done. Instead, It is a serious mental illness that requires attention and treatment.
How is postpartum depression diagnosed?
The Postpartum depression It is diagnosed when the depressive episode occurs before or after the birth of the person's child.
Sometimes a woman with postpartum depression may believe that she is only undergoing normal hormonal changes after giving birth. However, the symptoms of depression Postpartum last longer and tend to be more intense. The impact of depression influences your ability to carry out daily activities, and even your baby's care.
Symptoms later usually develop within the first weeks after birth, but may begin later, up to six months after birth.
The symptoms that can be experienced in postpartum depression are the following:
- Depressed mood or severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty establishing a union with your baby
- Fear of not being a good mother
- Fatigue or overwhelming loss of energy
- Get away from friends and family
- Problems with appetite (loss of appetite or eating more than usual)
- Problems with sleep (problems falling asleep or sleeping too much)
- Reduction of interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Intense irritability or irrational anger
- Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Difficulty thinking clearly, concentrating or making decisions
- Severe anxiety or panic attacks
- Disinterest in sex
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Thoughts of death or suicide
It is believed that between 3 and 6 percent of women experience symptoms of depression during pregnancy or in the weeks or months after delivery. Women who have a previous history of bipolar disorder symptoms or depression are more likely of suffering mood disorders during and / or after pregnancy.
It has been found that about 50% of postpartum depression episodes actually begins before the baby is born. These episodes are referred to as episodes of peripartum depression in the DSM-V.
Women with depressive episodes around childbirth often have severe anxiety and even panic attacks during the peripartum period. On the other hand, studies examining pre-post-pregnancy women show that people with anxiety during pregnancy have a higher risk of suffering post-partum depression.
These episodes of postpartum mood disorder can sometimes occur accompanied by psychotic features or delusional ideas. Fortunately, most women who have postpartum depression do not have psychotic features. The risk of postpartum episodes with psychotic characteristics is especially increased in women with a pre-existing mood disorder (especially bipolar disorder), a previous psychotic episode and those with a family history of bipolar disorder.
5 tips to fight postpartum depression
To help fight these terrible symptoms, we offer you the following five tips:
- Self care. It is important not to neglect and try to take some time each day for yourself. Take a shower or relaxing bath, read a book, have a few hours of quiet and uninterrupted sleep, take a good meal, go for a walk, or just go sit in a park. Your baby needs you, but he needs you healthy.
- Human interaction. After taking some time for yourself, you can focus on other people. Try to go out to dinner alone with your partner every two weeks, for example, or go for a walk with a friend. Spending time with friends and family members can help a lot to feel less disconnected from the social life before the baby is born.
- Support for. There are many women who experience your same symptoms at this time. Listening to someone else's version about postpartum depression and sharing your own experience can work wonders. Maybe talking to other recent moms that you start to meet you will realize that you are not so alone in this. If you still can't get over it, don't hesitate to seek the help of a qualified mental health professional.
- Exercise. Exercise has always been a great help in overcoming problems and a source of well-being. You're probably thinking that running is the last thing you want to do right now, but doing a little physical activity every day can help fight the symptoms of postpartum depression. You can try to go for a walk in the neighborhood, or to a yoga class that in addition to exercising will help you relax and be calmer. If you don't have time you can look for a guided yoga practice or a good online training video to do in your living room.
- Massages, acupuncture and breathing techniques ... They are excellent alternatives to try. The mind, body and soul are in connection and all are important for mental health, why not try? You can look for a masseuse who works with pregnant women and mothers, or an acupuncturist, as it can specifically treat various conditions.
Take time to take care of yourself, that will not make you a worse mother, but quite the opposite, because you will renew your strength to move forward successfully.
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